Reinventing health and wellness in a post-pandemic world for consumers and retailers
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought about many changes in people’s daily lives; he brought wellness and hygiene to a new perspective and called for a change in the way we perceive crowds. One aspect of life that COVID-19 had an impact on was the food industry, particularly the way people buy and consume food.
Surveys show that many Asian countries have consumers who are more focused on healthy eating now than during the pre-pandemic period. The increased demand for healthy diets has also come with increased awareness of overall health and the immune system, as people strive to live healthier and stronger lifestyles. This shift has led to a high demand for fresh produce, poultry and organic snacks, while products considered less healthy like sodas and alcohol have faced reduced demand.
This shift in perspective is also supported by the World Health Organization (WHO), which advocates for healthier lives not only in Asia and during this pandemic, but for the whole world for years to come. At home, families also prefer home-cooked meals over fast food and other “unhealthy” alternatives.
To cope with this shift in demand, retailers must also follow and meet their consumers halfway. Grocery stores, in particular, which have grown in importance in daily life during this pandemic, need to understand this demand and act accordingly, for example by increasing stocks and buying from their suppliers more often.
However, it’s not enough to make changes only in-store – retailers must also make changes with their suppliers and the way they do business with them, as well as in the way they treat their customers.
The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted businesses around the world, especially those in the supply chain industry. As multiple lockdowns have gone into effect over the past year, suppliers, freight companies and other supply chain stakeholders have taken the time to reassess their plan of operations.
In the case of those in the food industry – that is, restaurants, farmers, fisheries, eateries, grocery stores, and other food-intensive businesses – the pandemic has called on them to pay special attention. to their supply chain processes. Besides the fact that consumers want healthier food, studies have also shown that consumers are now aware of where their food is coming from. For some, it is no longer enough to eat healthy; It is also important to know where the ingredients for their dishes come from and how they were transported.
While there is no conclusive evidence that people can catch COVID-19 from food or food packaging as confirmed by the WHO, this concern urgently called for better handling of food products, from production to sales and after-sales. Street markets in Asia have been particularly quick to embrace new perspectives on food security after the first lockdowns and travel bans. Stricter hygiene practices have been observed on farms, production plants, sorting and delivery centers and even in stores.
Delivery, both from retailer to customer and from supplier to retailer, has also changed dramatically. Grocery stores and restaurants have started to change their business, increasing their inventories of foods perceived to be healthier while moving to more digital ways when dealing with customers to better reach and serve them. Many business owners in the food and beverage industry have also invested in new technologies to implement self-checkout counters and to create online shopping platforms that lead to contactless deliveries.
The need for more transparent transactions has grown over the past year, both out of concern for the health risks that mishandling food can cause and in order to get the best value for money. In a McKinsey & Company podcast, a supply chain expert explains that modern technology can help supply chains regain their foothold and make or break them once the COVID-19 pandemic is eradicated. With today’s technology, businesses can communicate better, track shipments and other factors that are usually out of control, and work more efficiently overall.
The podcast also discussed how some companies have started using satellite data and mobile phone data, which most people have these days, to monitor shipments and help retailers and suppliers. to coordinate better. This innovation can also help businesses react faster to different changes, as mobile and Bluetooth data can reflect changes in real time. While this idea is relatively new, many businesses can benefit from it, especially with post-pandemic food products, as the concern for food safety is unlikely to go away anytime soon.
Emerson’s loggers and trackers offer such technology – aimed at helping retailers and suppliers work more efficiently throughout the supply chain. Their GO Real-Time 4G / 5G Tracker uses cellular technology to provide retailers and suppliers with real-time temperature and location alerts as the delivery moves through the supply chain. Their GO PDF Mini Logger and GO Bluetooth Plus Logger monitor the temperature of perishables. Both logging devices operate so that data is collected from the device when it reaches its final destination. GO Bluetooth data can be ready with an app and the GO PDF Mini is plugged into a computer using the USB port. The data about it is accessible on the Oversight Online portal and app, which houses all the accumulated data from the tracker and loggers for archiving and easy access later.
One of Emerson’s customers, a global food leader with more than 50 years of exporting Filipino pineapples and bananas to multiple markets, shares his experience with Emerson’s trackers and loggers. They were able to accurately track shipments and share data across its logistics network, allowing them to maintain the quality and integrity of the cold chain while minimizing food waste.
With its technology, Emerson enables everyone involved in the supply chain to be aware of where products are going and how they are kept at the right temperature for optimal food safety, which has also become a matter of concern. with the current. pandemic.
COVID-19 will eventually come true, but the changes it made and introduced are likely to stay and become the norm. These changes may be something different to get used to, but ultimately they are in the interest of the greater good and can help run things more efficiently.
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